Developer Plans 2 More Buildings at Chill-Can Project
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Construction on a $20 million “chill-can” manufacturing plant planned for the city’s East Side is on pace to begin this spring and the first two buildings will be in place by the end of the summer, says Mitchell Joseph, chairman and CEO of Joseph Company International.
“We’ll start clearing in the next 10 days to two weeks,” he said, while demolition of vacant houses in the neighborhood should start in about 30 days. Once the last structures are removed, crews will start grading the site.
Joseph, whose family owned the Star Bottling Co. on Lane Avenue where the new plant is to be built, said it’s likely that the project will now include “one or two more buildings” than originally planned. Initially, the plans for the campus called for constructing four buildings.
“They’ll be used for technology — for technology research and development and internship programs with Youngstown State University, just like we do in California,” Joseph said.
The CEO left town Friday morning after spending several days here to meet with city officials on the status of the project. While here, Joseph also worked on details of the construction contract with a city-based company, which hires union tradesmen. A sign at the project site photographed today shows “Build Union’ graffiti painted on it.
Joseph anticipates the project will create about 250 jobs when it is fully operational.
In October, Joseph formally announced his plans for the new manufacturing plant. His company, based in Irvine, Calif., manufactures beverage cans that are able to self-chill through a cooling mechanism built within the container, a technology he said is transferable to other industries such as cosmetics, the military, and athletics.
However, Joseph acknowledges the Youngstown project has proved more difficult than first imagined because the 21-acre site is carved up into more than 40 individual lots that all need secured before work could begin.
“You’re not dealing with 20 acres of farm land,” he said. “This is the inner city.” The project encompasses an area bordered by Fruit Street, Himrod Avenue, Oak Street and the Madison Avenue Expressway.
There are roughly 15 or so abandoned houses marked with large pink “Xs” along Lane Avenue and the vicinity, denoting that electric and gas service has been turned off to these properties. Interior remediation of asbestos in these houses has started, which Joseph said was another challenge in preparing the site.
“One of the biggest challenges was the closing of Lane Avenue,” he said. “By regulation, it is a state thoroughfare, and these issues take time.”
City Finance Director David Bozanich said the city is fully behind Joseph for taking on such a complex project. “We’ve been working with him now for a long time and we applaud him for taking on this challenge,” he said.
The city will cover most of the demolition and asbestos removal costs, Bozanich said, which is what it would do for any project of this size. “I think in 60 to 90 days you’ll begin to see construction at the site.”
Joseph added that the buildings — prefabricated metal structures – are ordered so work could begin as soon as possible. “We’ve got great contractors and the city is 100% behind me. Mayor McNally and Dave Bozanich have done a great job.”
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.